IBC 2023: Advances in Audio Technology Go Hand-in-Hand With Trade-Show Growth

Exhibits reflect broadcast sports’ transition to IP, immersive, and the cloud

IBC 2023, scheduled for Sept. 15-18 in Amsterdam, is the next chapter in the post-COVID recovery in trade-show attendance — by both exhibitors and attendees — since the pandemic virtually shut down pro-audio–inclusive events. Statistics for IBC 2022 indicate improvement from the prior 11 quarters, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR): the cancellation rate for in-person events dropped to 1.3%, a huge improvement from the 97.9% in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 14.8% in 2021.

Broadcast is sharing in the salubrious trend. NAB 2023 in Las Vegas in April, for instance, reported a nearly 20% increase in attendance over the previous year’s edition.

This is all especially good news for broadcast-sports audio, which is in the midst of an inflective and simultaneous transition into IP, immersive, and cloud-based territories.

Here’s a look at some of the audio-focused exhibits IBC attendees will see — and hear.

Calrec ImPulse1 IP audio-processing and -routing engine

Making its IBC debut is Calrec’s (Stand 8.B57) ImPulse1 IP audio-processing and -routing engine. It’s designed as a powerful and cost-effective ST 2110 solution for single-console scenarios, joining the established multi-console ImPulse platform. ImPulse1 is a compact 1RU solution with an optional second core for redundancy and a new, 128-input channel DSP pack offering entry-level pricing. It works with Argo Q and Argo S control surfaces and/or Calrec Assist, a browser-based GUI suited to remote working, multi-operator, and/or headless operation. Cores with smaller DSP licenses can be offered without hardware redundancy. ImPulse1 is designed for small to medium single-mixer applications and is offered with an all-new DSP license of 128 input channels without compromising its ST 2110 capability.

Clear-Com Arcadia Central Station

Clear-Com (Stand 10.D29) will highlight IP-based and remote-production intercom solutions and announce new features for the Arcadia Central Station. The exhibit will also highlight innovative features of the company’s flagship Eclipse HX digital matrix intercom system, including Dynam-EC real-time production software, role-based workflows, and the new 2X10 Touch desktop touchscreen panel. The award-winning IP-based Arcadia Central Station will be available for demonstration, including the HXII-DPL Powerline device, an IP interface that delivers power and digital audio from Arcadia to HelixNet Digital Network systems, as well as new features to be revealed at the show.

Evertz (Stand 1.B79) will showcase Studer Audio, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Since acquiring Studer in 2021, Evertz has integrated the brand’s Vista digital mixing consoles into its own Software Defined Video Networking (SDVN) platform. The consoles now support SMPTE ST 2110, making them an important addition to Evertz’s live-production workflows, part of the industry’s transition to IP. Evertz will also demonstrate the integration of Studer Vista with its DreamCatcher BRAVO studio virtual production-control suite, which allows users to quickly and easily produce high-quality live content at a lower cost by providing virtual access to a full mixing console.

Genelec 9320A Reference Controller

Genelec (Stand 8.A61) will unveil the 9320A Reference Controller as a bridge to its new UNIO audio-monitoring-service platform. UNIO brings together benefits of Genelec Smart Active Monitors, GLM 5.0 calibration software, and Aural ID 2.0 technology to create seamless integration of professional in-room loudspeaker and headphone monitoring services. With flexible connectivity, a reference-grade headphone output, and tactile hardware control of Smart Active Monitors, GLM, and Aural ID, the 9320A provides a compact and exceptional hub for both static and mobile professional audio-monitoring applications.

Lawo (Stand 8.B90) HOME apps, announced at NAB 2023, harness the power of a flexible microservice architecture, allowing users to adapt to changing requirements and budget conditions while supporting SMPTE ST 2110, SRT, JPEG XS, and NDI for mixed-technology environments. Also to be displayed, the .edge Hyper-Density SDI/IP conversion and routing platform offers licensable options like proxy generation and JPEG XS compression to address bandwidth constraints, streamline IP pipelines, and optimize workflows. The V10.8 software release for the mc²/A__UHD Core/Power Core platform features flexible bus routing, expanded AUX count (up to 256 buses), QSC Q-Sys proxy integration in HOME, Remote Show Control via OSC, and more, setting a new benchmark for live-performance capabilities.

Pliant Technologies MicroCom 863XR

Pliant Technologies (Stand 10.C53) will show the latest addition to its MicroCom family of products: the new MicroCom 863XR wireless beltpack operates in the 863-865 MHz ISM band, allowing unlicensed use in most European countries. It features excellent range, two intercom channels, and the capability to support up to six full-duplex users with unlimited listeners. MicroCom 863XR provides full-duplex, multi-user intercom solutions for applications where high-quality audio, extended range, ease of use, and affordability are essential. Featuring rugged IP67 construction, a long 12-hour battery that is field-replaceable, and a range of MicroCom accessories, the MicroCom 863XR is suited for jobs that require continuous use.

Q5X TossMic

Q5X (Stand 8.C92) will introduce two transmitter form factors: the AquaMic XL and TossMic. The AquaMic XL is the latest addition to the Q5X AquaMic family of remote-controlled transmitters that are totally waterproof to 100 ft. It has a 36+-hour run time, ideal for situations where transmitters need to be deployed for an entire day or longer. The TossMic, a self-contained waterproof transmitter and microphone housed in a small protective case surrounded by a waterproof windscreen, was intended to improve audio quality versus shotgun mics for golf broadcasts. The first version of the TossMic is attached to a beanbag carrier that allows it to be quickly and accurately placed on the ground close to the talent and then easily relocated. The AquaMic XL and TossMic are available in both digital (compatible with Shure Axient Digital receivers) and analog (compatible with Lectrosonics, Sennheiser and Wisycom analog receivers) models, and production units will be available to ship early in 2024. Also on display will be the Q5X PlayerMic family in both digital and analog versions.

Riedel Communications ViBox

With the integration of Simplylive, Riedel Communications (Stands 10.A31, 10.A38) will showcase its live-video-production tools, including the All-In-One Production Suite, offering ViBox for multicamera productions, with Slomo and RefBox. Also on display will be RiMotion replay, RiCapture UHD recorder, the Venue Gateway, and the Web Multiviewer enabling simple, scalable production and replay. Riedel’s MediorNet IP solutions for video- and audio-processing and -distribution with MuoN SFP technology feature encoding/decoding, ST 2110 gateways, multiviewers, and newly added HDR conversion between any SDR/HDR formats, including Slog3, PQ, and HLG. On the comms side, Riedel will present the Emmy Award-winning Bolero wireless intercom in both the DECT 1.9-GHz and the new 2.4-GHz version, offering capabilities in combined networks. Riedel’s SmartPanel concept decouples a keypanel’s capabilities from its hardware and turns it into a software-definable application platform. With the new Audio Monitoring App (AMA), the 1200 Series SmartPanels now unite advanced intercom, control, automation, and monitoring functionalities in a single panel.

RTS (Stand 11.D09) will offer several key demos. In one, RNP implements NMOS protocols — RNP acts as a proxy between RTS OMNEO-based devices and non-RTS NMOS third-party products, such as NMOS explorers, NMOS nodes, and NMOS controllers — and ODIN’s redundancy and glitch-free capabilities. In case of a device failure, the system will switch over to a backup device/second network; all digital connections will be transferred automatically. The company will also focus on the RTS Digital Partyline for IP migration, with a spotlight on the new member of the family: launched at NAB 2023, DSPK4 IP-based wired speaker station provides next-level versatility and functionality, including four channels of talk/listen via microphone and speaker or headset. Also to be introduced is the DSPK-4 Digital Speaker Station, the newest member of the RTS Digital Partyline intercom product family.

Sennheiser (Stands 8.D50, 8.C47) and related brands Neumann, Dear Reality, and Merging Technologies will demonstrate immersive production workflows as well as solutions for audio capture, monitoring, and processing. An immersive presentation zone will offer hands-on experience with the Dolby Atmos/immersive broadcast workflows facilitated by the products of Merging Technologies, the newest member of the Sennheiser Group. The company will show its Anubis, Hapi, Pyramix, and Ovation solutions integrated in typical broadcast workflows, in addition to its new Dolby Atmos–certified monitoring package. Active and passive product islands will highlight various aspects of the audio-production workflow, such as location-independent monitoring of multichannel formats, which is facilitated through Dear Reality’s dearVR PRO spatializer and dearVR MONITOR with any set of monitoring headphones. Areas will be dedicated to Neumann products and to a separate Wireless Multichannel Audio Systems (WMAS) zone.

Shure DuraPlex lav mics

Shure (Stand C68) will show a combination of new and updated mics and software. New mics include the DuraPlex and UniPlex lavs. The Wireless Workbench 7 software introduces scan library, refreshed user interface with dark mode, improved high-density-mode support, and more ways to customize reporting. Axient Digital AD600 Spectrum Manager offers real-time, wideband spectrum scanning and monitoring from 174 MHz to 2.0 GHz, spectrum analysis, and frequency coordination in 1RU. Six antenna connections deliver multiple coverage options, and Dante connectivity provides advanced audio monitoring of any network. Also, the Axient Digital ADX5D dual-channel portable wireless receiver, part of the Engineering Emmy Award-winning Axient digital wireless system, delivers spectral efficiency and transparent audio quality in a portable, slot-in design for film and broadcast.

Solid State Logic System T S500m

Solid State Logic (Stand 8.B81) will demonstrate the System T flagship S500m’s audio-production toolkit for sports and entertainment, as well as the latest decentralized and remote workflows for live-to-air-broadcast. Pairing the large-format modular console with a 5.1.4 monitoring system, the demo will showcase its newest features: object- and channel-based immersive workflows, immersive channel and bus formats with integrated XYZ and rotational Theta 3D panning, full monitoring including formats up to 9.1.6, and control of the Dolby Atmos Music Panner Plug-In. In addition, SSL will introduce the Tempest Control App (TCA), which delivers full control of all mix, routing, monitoring, setup, and automation functions, including the entire suite of next-gen immersive production tools.

Sony UWP-D radio microphones

Sony’s (Stands 13.A10, 13.D201) pro-audio exhibit will comprise two main product areas of interest to sports media: the UWP-D Series of radio microphones (hassle-free connection with NFC pairing and with small and compact RX and TX options) and the DWX Series (dynamic sound with multichannel operation and compact transmitter options). Also on display will be the new MDR-MV1 open-back headphones and C Series (C80, C100, and ECM-100) microphones.

Telos Alliance Axia Altus virtual mixing console

Telos Alliance (Stand 8.C45) will showcase the Telos Infinity VIP, a full-featured cloud-based intercom system that brings cloud-based media-production workflows to any computer or tablet running a modern HTML5-capable web browser. The free Infinity VIP App extends the workflow flexibility natively to Android and iOS devices via Google Play and the Apple App Store. The Axia Altus virtual mixing console provides full-function mixing, including eight virtual auxiliary mixers, integration with Telos VX broadcast phone systems and contribution and monitoring of audio via WebRTC. The Linear Acoustic line of NEXTGEN TV audio products includes the LA-5291 for production workflows and delivery streams that do not require Dolby AC-4 encoding, and the Linear Acoustic LA-5300, a complete ATSC 3.0 toolkit with loudness control, upmixing, watermarking, bitstream analysis and monitoring, and Dolby AC-4 encoding.

TSL TM1-MK3+ control

TSL (Stand 10.B41) is showcasing its new TM1-MK3+ advanced control solution for OB trucks and broadcast environments. The award-winning product family serves as the central control system for fast-paced media workflows, eliminating the chaos of managing multiple hub-and-spoke systems. TSL has also developed and launched a new audio monitor for IBC 2023. The MPA1-MIX-NET-V-R 1RU is native IP, incorporating fully redundant networking ST 2022-7. Also on exhibit will be InSite, a UIIM control, monitoring, and reporting application that discovers and connects devices over SNMP or Modbus to display control and alarm status.

Wheatstone Audioarts Voice 1 processor

Wheatstone (Stand 8.C91) will feature its new Audioarts Voice 1 processor, which combines the latest in processing and scalability with proven algorithms. Like Wheatstone’s other mic and audio processors, Voice 1 offers asymmetrical voice correction, optimized high-frequency EQ, targeted filtering, and sophisticated psychoacoustic algorithm technology. It uses high-quality 24-bit A/D converters for no undesirable coloration, as well as proprietary Super Quiet mic preamps for extremely low noise floor, wide-open dynamic range, faithfully accurate transients, and ruler-flat frequency response — all in an affordable half-rack unit. Voice 1 supports a variety of microphones with high input impedance, high available gain, and 32 dB of input headroom — comparable to recording consoles. Voice 1 is a WheatNet IP audio network device with routable I/O and logic control.

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